Episode 92: Healthcare: A right, a benefit, or a mandatory privilege?

There is no doubt that healthcare is affordable to all Americans. However, such affordability is contingent on one’s income, meaning that the healthcare coverage individuals choose relates to how much money they are willing to pay, and the level of healthcare services they receive is based on the type of plans they elect. 

Healthcare coverage, also known as medical insurance or health insurance, helps individuals cover the costs of medical expenses. Americans obtain medical insurance policies through government or private insurance companies. 

There are different types of medical insurance plans. The most prevalent are employer-sponsored health insurance, the Health Insurance Marketplace, which was established under the Affordable Care Act, and government-funded programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. The eligibility for either one is contingent on the beneficiary having an income or used to have an income. However, their affordability, availability, and reliability depend on how much the individuals are willing to pay, the employer’s contribution, or government subsidies. 

When signing up for medical insurance plans, Americans focus on three critical financial aspects: The first is premium, which is the amount an individual pays monthly, quarterly, or annually to the insurance company to maintain coverage. The second one is deductible, the amount an individual must pay out of pocket before the insurance company starts covering the costs. The third is copayment or copay, which is a fixed amount an individual pays for certain healthcare services after reaching the deductible. For example, if for a $3,000.00 hospital bill, the deductible is $1,000, the policy owner will pay the first $1000, and the insurance company will pay the hospital the remaining $2000. 

Thus, healthcare is a mandatory privilege because the law tells all Americans to pay a premium, copays, and deductibles to see doctors. Premium costs generate healthcare affordability and availability, meaning the higher the premiums, the quicker beneficiaries can receive care and the more extensive their Health Maintenance Organization or Preferred Provider Organization insurance plans. 

Affordability and availability in a medical insurance policy mean that individuals purchase a policy based on how much from their monthly paycheck they put toward remaining healthy. Two Americans may have the same income but have different insurance plans. Conversely, they may have different incomes, but the one with the lowest income may have purchased a higher premium, which may be based on age, family size, or pre-existing conditions. 

As of 2010, specifically under Obamacare, the government fines Americans without a healthcare plan. As such, healthcare became a burden on low-income families, who were then compelled to adjust their expenses to purchase premiums. Despite government subsidies, these Americans struggle to see doctors due to small networks and the ability to see specialists.  

The government forces healthcare coverage on all Americans.  Americans who do not have it must have it or pay a fine. When Americans no longer have the choice of not having something they don’t want to have, never wanted to have, or cannot financially afford; it is not a benefit or a right; it is a privilege.

In conclusion, considering that individuals must pay a premium, copays, and deductibles for healthcare, healthcare is neither a benefit nor a right but a mandatory privilege. It is so because eligibility is based on income. 

Bobb Rousseau, PhD
Apostrophe Podcast

Is healthcare a right, a benefit, or a privilege? This podcast answers.